Interactive Q&A - Parents
Academics & Admissions
If my student joins Air Force ROTC, does that mean they are joining the military?
No. If your student gets a 4-year scholarship from high school, then the first year of college is paid for and they can quit at the end of their freshman year with no obligation. If they get a 3-year scholarship from high school or college then they are not committed to the Air Force until they accept their scholarship (usually in the fall of their sophomore year). If they didn't get any scholarship, then they are not committed to joining the Air Force until they start their junior year of college.
What is the difference between Junior ROTC in high school and ROTC in college?
The mission of the high school Junior ROTC program is to build better citizens for America. The mission of the college ROTC program is to produce leaders for the Air Force. If your student is interested in starting an Air Force Junior ROTC program at their high school, visit http://www.afoats.af.mil/AFJROTC/ApplyforUnit.asp.
Does my student have to be in Junior ROTC in high school to be eligible for ROTC in college?
No. In fact, the majority of students enrolled in college ROTC have never been involved in the Junior ROTC program.
Does my student have to join Air Force ROTC as a freshman?
No. Any student (graduate or undergraduate) with more than two years remaining should be eligible for our program. So, if they're a second-semester freshman, a sophomore, or have at least two years remaining in your graduate studies, they can join.
Can my student enroll if they didn't take Air Force ROTC as a freshman?
Yes. They can enroll in Aerospace Studies 101 and Aerospace Studies 201 (their university may have a different name) and be what we call dual enrolled. They can also elect not to take freshman ROTC, however, they must attend an extended field training unit during the summer of their second year if they take this option.
Can my student attend Air Force ROTC without a scholarship?
Yes, they can. Many of our students do not start with a scholarship, but earn one eventually. Still, at any given time, about 80% of our students receive financial assistance.
My student didn't receive an Air Force ROTC scholarship before they started college; are there scholarship opportunities while they are in college?
Yes. Depending on how many years they have left in college, they may qualify for a two- or three-year scholarship. For more details on scholarship opportunities, please visit our Air Force ROTC Scholarships » section.
Is preference shown toward scholarship cadets?
Definitely not! The fact that a cadet may have an Air Force ROTC scholarship has no bearing on an Air Force career. Nor does it make any difference while in the Air Force ROTC program.
Are there any restrictions as to what students select as their academic major?
None at all. In fact, we encourage cadets to take a curriculum they are interested in and in which they have the capability to do well. Our main academic concern is that they maintain a Grade Point Average (GPA) above 2.5 and attain their degree in the time period planned.
Can my student pursue graduate education after they are commissioned?
The Air Force is education-oriented and financially supports graduate studies. Most bases have graduate college programs, and they may apply for the tuition assistance program that pays 100 percent of the tuition cost.
How often can my student take the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT)?
The test is given several times during the fall and spring and can be taken a maximum of two times with at least 6 months between tests.
If my student takes Air Force ROTC classes, are they committed to military or government service once they join?
There is no service commitment for students who take our classes with no intention of becoming an Air Force officer. For these students, it’s just another class. If your child is interested in becoming an officer, there is NO service commitment during the first two years of the program unless he or she has an Air Force ROTC scholarship. If your child is an Air Force ROTC scholarship student, he/she is obligated once they've activated the scholarship and have entered his or her sophomore year.
What are the other Air Force commissioning opportunities?
Other commissioning opportunities exist through the United States Air Force Academy. Commissioning opportunities for college graduates also exist through Officer Training School, an intense 12-week program at Maxwell Air Force Base. Commissioned Officer Training is a 4-week program designed for professionals who have received a direct commissioned appointment as a lawyer, chaplain or in the medical service. Reserve Commissioned Officer Training is a 13-day intensive program designed for Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard medical service officers.
Does my student receive any ROTC credit for Junior ROTC?
Yes they do. Three years of Junior ROTC (JROTC) are considered equal to three semesters of the General Military Course (GMC), and two years are equal to one year of the GMC. No credit is given for less than two years of JROTC training.
If a cadet encounters academic or personal problems, where can they turn for help?
First, they should try their Air Force ROTC detachment instructor. While the instructor may not have a psychology degree, he or she does have experience in counseling and can direct them to the proper resources. Air Force ROTC instructors try to develop a strong professional rapport with each cadet. Each university also offers various resource offices for their students and many services are free as part of the student fees.
Is the Four-Year Program more advantageous for students?
Yes, for the following reasons: It gives them more time to participate in Air Force ROTC without obligation, to gain experience and to decide whether they want to apply for the advanced program, the POC.
If my student joins AFROTC, they've joined the Air Force.
If your student gets a 4-year scholarship right out of high school, their first year of college is paid for. Your student can quit at the end of their freshman year with no obligation. If your student gets a 3-year scholarship in high school or while in college, they are not committed to the Air Force until they accept their scholarship [usually in the fall of their sophomore year]. If your student didn't get a scholarship, they aren't committed to joining the Air Force until they become a contracted cadet.
What is the commitment to the Air Force upon graduation?
Most officers have a four-year commitment. For pilots, it's ten years after pilot training, and six years for combat systems officers after training. Air Battle Managers have a six-year commitment. See the Service Commitment section ».
When will cadets know what job they will be doing for the Air Force as an officer?
Cadets will have a chance to select a career choice. The factors to be used will include their Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) scores, their camp performance rating, their Grade Point Average (GPA), their academic major, their Physical Fitness Test (PFT) score, and the Detachment Commander's rating. They will know their specific Air Force job category approximately six months before they're commissioned.
Do all cadets have to become a pilot or combat systems officer?
No. The vast majority of Air Force jobs do not involve flying at all. In the civilian world there are thousands of jobs and careers – doctors, lawyers, law enforcement, engineers, financial careers, food-service management – the list is endless. For almost every civilian out in the work force, there is an Air Force officer counterpart performing a similar job. For more information about the many careers available, check out our Careers section ».
When do cadets actually receive their commission as an Air Force officer?
Cadets normally get commissioned in a special ceremony the same day they graduate. They can expect to enter active duty about 30 days after graduation.
Will my student go on active duty in the Air Force immediately following graduation and commissioning?
Not necessarily. They may request an educational delay if they desire to attend graduate school at their own expense before going on active duty. If approved, the Air Force will postpone their active-duty tour. Delays are routinely provided if they select to attend dental or medical school. Scholarships also exist for students accepted to medical school.
Can my student continue my education beyond the baccalaureate level?
Yes. The Air Force offers several opportunities to do so. In many cases they can request an educational delay. This delay between the time of commissioning and reporting for active duty will be of sufficient length to allow them to fulfill the requirements for a professional or master's degree. They will assume all financial obligations. There are also many opportunities to pursue advanced degrees while serving on Active Duty.
My student doesn't have 20/20 vision. Can they still fly?
It depends. Check out the Flying Requirements » for more information.
Is a major in Aeronautical Science required to become a pilot or combat systems officer?
No. Academic major plays a minor role in pilot and combat systems officer selection. Cadets can major in any degree program and compete to receive a pilot or combat systems officer slot in Air Force ROTC. They can even be on an Air Force ROTC scholarship in an engineering or science major and compete on an equal basis for a flying position.
What are the age limits for a cadet to compete for a pilot or combat systems officer position?
To compete for the pilot or combat systems officer categories, a cadet must be able to complete their bachelor's degree and be commissioned through Air Force ROTC before they are 29 years old.
Will my student be behind my fellow nonmilitary graduates after they complete their service obligation and decide to get out?
No. In fact, many companies prefer to hire former officers over new college graduates (even those with master's degrees). Their Air Force experience, the management skills they've gained on active duty and their active-duty educational benefits can give them the competitive edge they need.
How do Air Force ROTC graduates compare with Air Force Academy and Officer Training School graduates?
The Academy, ROTC and Officer Training School all produce qualified Air Force officers. The Air Force achieves better diversity and talent by getting officers from more than one commissioning source. Once on active duty, the most important factor in promotion is job performance.
Joining AFROTC means my student is in the Air Force until they retire.
After graduating from an AFTROTC program, your student will likely only have a four-year commitment to the Air Force. However, if your student chooses to become a pilot, it's ten years after pilot training, and it's six years for combat systems officers after training. Air Battle Managers also have a six-year commitment.
Everyone who joins AFROTC becomes a pilot.
Actually, the vast majority of Air Force jobs don't involve flying at all. Just like in the civilian world, there are hundreds of Air Force jobs and careers – doctors, lawyers, law enforcement, engineers, financial careers, food-service management – the list is endless.
Will my student have to cut his/her hair?
Hair must be kept in accordance with Air Force guidelines when in uniform.
Do cadets have to wear a uniform to class every day?
No. Cadets are only required to wear their uniform to their Air Force ROTC classes and on Leadership Lab day once a week. Occasionally, during special events, they may be required to wear their uniform.
How much time will my student have to spend with Air Force ROTC each week?
The only required time is during your Air Force ROTC classes, Leadership Lab, and physical fitness training. (This equates to approximately four hours per week for freshmen and sophomores; six hours per week for juniors and seniors.)
How are new cadets treated?
It is the responsibility of the cadet's flight commander to help new cadets fit into the program. Many detachments also have tutoring programs and other forms of assistance. Hazing is not permitted! You'll find the cadet staff and detachment staff are concerned about your student's well-being and progress.
How much marching and drilling will cadets have to do?
Not as much as you may think. Marching/drill is sometimes practiced during squadron time at Leadership Laboratory. There are no mandatory drill sessions outside of LLAB.
When will cadets receive their Air Force ROTC uniform?
Within the first couple of class periods, we will issue cadets a complete uniform and tell them how to arrange for having alterations completed (at no cost to them). However, they are responsible for keeping the uniform clean and presentable.
Will my student be expected to participate in any extracurricular activities?
Their first and foremost concern is attending classes and maintaining good grades. After this, they will certainly want to examine some of the various activities sponsored by both their university and Air Force ROTC. There's something in our program of interest to everyone.
Can my student participate in intercollegiate athletics while a member of the Air Force ROTC program?
Yes. Generally, extracurricular campus activities and Air Force ROTC are perfectly compatible – as long as they do not overload with extracurricular activities. A serious physical injury while participating in intercollegiate or intramural athletic activities may cause them to be disenrolled from Air Force ROTC because of a change in their physical profile.
Where can my student attend Air Force ROTC?
Air Force ROTC is offered at over 1000 institutions throughout the continental United States, Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico.
If my student applies for the scholarship, are they obligated to the Air Force in any way?
No. Applying for an Air Force ROTC scholarship doesn't obligate your student in any way. Four-year scholarship recipients do not incur any obligation until the start of their sophomore year in college.
Can my student withdraw their application?
Yes. Your student may withdraw their application at any time by emailing email@example.com, sending a fax to 334-953-4384, or writing to the High School Scholarship Program at HQ AFROTC/RRUC, 551 East Maxwell Blvd, Maxwell AFB AL 36112-5917.
Can my student apply for other officer training programs and military scholarships?
Yes. Your student may apply for any other officer training program and even receive scholarship offers from more than one service. However, once your student enrolls in another program, they will be removed from further Air Force ROTC scholarship competition. Notify the College Scholarships Selections Section immediately if your student accepts and enroll in another program.
If my student chooses to leave one of the other officer training programs, can they still apply for an in-college Air Force ROTC scholarship?
Yes. Your student may apply for one of the Air Force ROTC scholarships of less than four years if a waiver is granted.
How does my student check on the status of their scholarship application?
There are several other ways to check on the status of your student's application package: • Contact a Regional Director of Admissions. • Call 1-866-423-7682 and speak with a scholarship technician. • Go online to check the status of your student's application.
When and how will my student be notified if they've been offered a scholarship?
If offered an Air Force ROTC scholarship, your student will be notified in writing after the scholarship selection boards meet. Board results are scheduled to be released on or around the following dates: • 28 Dec 2008 • 15 Feb 2009 • 14 Mar 2009 • 18 Apr 2009
If my student is offered a scholarship, how will it be presented?
Normally, an Air Force officer will come to your student's school and present the scholarship during their school's annual awards day at the end of the year. Although your student can choose not to have the scholarship presented, they deserve to be recognized for your accomplishments.
What kind of scholarships does Air Force ROTC offer?
We offer three types and two lengths in our High School Scholarship Program. Our scholarships are offered in either 4-year or 3-year lengths. Our 4-year scholarships are activated in the fall of the freshman year while our 3-year scholarships are activated in the fall of the sophomore year. We offer HSSP, ICS, HBCU, HSI, and Express Scholarships. For more information please see the link for "scholarships".
What majors are eligible for this program?
Air Force ROTC offers scholarships in academic majors needed to meet the needs of the Air Force. This includes both technical majors and non-technical majors. In each year's scholarship cycle, we offer roughly 2,000-plus scholarships across the nation. We strongly urge your student to carefully consider the choices they list for an academic major on this application. Your student may list up to three majors, but they should only list those that they will be willing to pursue. Your student should also ensure the major they want to pursue is offered by the school they want to attend.
How do you award scholarships based on majors?
We plan to award the majority of scholarships to students pursuing technical scholarships: A full list of our approved technical and foreign language majors is found on our website under "scholarships" and "schools and majors".
Is my student eligible?
For eligibility requirements, please see our section "scholarships" and "eligibility".
What kind of college entrance scores does my student need?
We measure academic performance with an Academic Composite. This measure is based on a combination of your child’s SAT or ACT scores, class rank, GPA, and the number of advanced courses he or she has completed through grade 11. To be eligible for a scholarship your child should achieve an SAT composite of 1100 (Math and Verbal only) or ACT composite of 24, attain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and have a class ranking in the top 40%. Scholarship recipients usually have completed some advanced placement courses. If your child doesn’t meet these requirements he or she can still apply with other outstanding leadership credentials.
What are the weight and fitness standards?
To apply for the scholarship, your student must complete the Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) and mail the PFA Letter of Certification to us. If your student is offered a scholarship, they must meet the Air Force Weight Standards » prior to activating the scholarship. If your student is offered a scholarship, they must also meet the Air Force Physical Fitness Test (PFT) Standards » prior to activating the scholarship. Your student must perform this test within a few days of starting college their freshman year.
What are the vision standards?
The refractive error in each eye cannot exceed +/- 8.00 diopters. Also, both eyes must be free of any disfiguring or incapacitating abnormality and acute or chronic disease. A history of corneal surgical procedures such as radial keratotomy (RK), even if refractive error improves, disqualifies your student for Air Force ROTC. EXCEPTION: A history of photo refractive keratectomy (PRK) does not automatically disqualify your student from entry; however, certain criteria must be met before being medically certified. Adequate color vision is a prerequisite to entry into many Air Force specialties.
Will my student need to take a medical exam?
No scholarship will be activated until the individual is medically qualified for a commission. The process may involve several months of processing and correspondence. The Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DODMERB) is our medical certification agency. DODMERB determines whether or not the selected individual is medically qualified for a commission. If your child is found to be medically disqualified, but believe there are extenuating circumstances that justify consideration of a waiver of our medical standards, he or she should follow the DODMERB instructions regarding rebuttals and waiver processing.
Does an Air Force ROTC scholarship pay for room and board?
No. Air Force ROTC scholarships do not pay for room and board. However, many colleges and universities offer subsidies to Air Force ROTC students on scholarship that can cover room and board.
Is it possible for my student to change my academic major if on scholarship?
Yes, but this is a complex process and should be attempted only after your student has given it much thought. Depending on your student's current major and their proposed major, they may lose their scholarship benefits. Call the detachment your student would be attending for details and procedures.
Fact or Fiction
My student will have to major in something really technical
AFROTC encourages your student to take a curriculum they are interested in and can excel in. While the majority of AFROTC scholarships are awarded to those entering technical majors, 25% are available to any academic major.
My student will have to shave his/her head if they join AFROTC
When you're student's is wearing their AFROTC uniform, their hair must be kept in accordance with Air Force guidelines. For men that does mean a short cut, but not shaved. Women's hair must be cut or pinned up above their collar when in uniform.
AFROTC students wear uniforms to class every day.
The only time freshman and sophomores are required to wear their uniform is during Leadership Lab, once a week. Juniors and seniors are only required to wear a uniform to Leadership Lab and during one class session during the week. Occasionally, during special events, your student may be required to wear their uniform. Otherwise, your student can wear whatever they want.
AFROTC will take up all of my student's free time!
The only required time is during your student's AFROTC classes, Leadership Lab, and physical fitness training. This adds up to around four to five hours per week for juniors and seniors. Beyond that, your student's free time is your own.
In AFROTC, my student will march everywhere and get up extra early for drills.
There's not nearly as much marching in AFROTC as you think. Marching (drill) is sometimes practiced during your student's Leadership Laboratory [LLAB], but there are no mandatory drill sessions outside of LLAB. Whether your student walks or runs to class depends on how many times they hit the snooze button.
My student will have to join a whole bunch of extracurricular activities.
Your student's #1 priority is going to class and maintaining their GPA. If your student has got that under control, go ahead and look into some of the activities offered around campus and through AFROTC. There's no pressure whatsoever, but we're sure your student can find something that interests them.
My student will have to go to college far from home if they want to be in AFROTC.
AFROTC is offered at over 1,000 colleges and universities throughout the United States, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. So, chances are, there's one near your student's home. How far away your student lives is their choice.
Joining AFROTC means my student will be living on an Air Force Base during college.
Being in AFROTC is not the same as being in the Air Force, so students do not live on base. Live with your parents, in a dorm, or get an apartment – it's up to you.
AFROTC students have no social life!
AFROTC students have all the freedoms of non-AFROTC students. Their free time is their own and they can spend it as they see fit. Students that receive an FROTC scholarship will have to maintain an acceptable GPA, but they can go to games and parties, take road trips and hang out just like anyone else.
My student's financial need isn't great enough for an AFROTC scholarship.
AFROTC scholarships are based upon academic merit, not need. Your student's eligibility is based on their officer potential and the “whole person” concept. We will review your student's leadership and work experience, extracurricular activities, plus the results from their personal interview and questionnaire. These factors, along with their academic scores and the needs of the Air Force, will determine your student's merit for a 4- or 3-year scholarship and the type of scholarship offered.
My student will have a drill sergeant breathing down their neck all the time!
The only time your student is required to spend participating in AFROTC activities is during your their Leadership Lab. This will sometimes involve physical fitness drills – but no drill sergeants following your student around!
My student's social circle won't extend beyond AFROTC
AFROTC students are members of athletic teams, fraternities, sororities and any number of social groups. Your student will likely make a lot of great friends in AFROTC, but they are free to hang out with whomever you like.